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This is one of those books that you pick up and immediately grabs your attention and gets you going.  I was infuriated from the very beginning of the book – not with Dr. Lipstadt but with the fact that there are these “deniers” out there who have gone and continue to go to great lengths to revise history and white-wash the German responsibility for World War II and for the Holocaust in particular.

Their methods initially were very rudimentary and poor in that they produced pamphlets that had limited circulation and were of low quality that is was obvious that their target audience was simply like-minded individuals.  Initially much of their effort seems to have been devoted to exonerating Germany’s role in the war and portraying the Nazi regime as more victim of the Allies and of Jews in particular.  The early deniers focused more on minimizing the numbers of Jews murdered in the death camps like Aushwitz-Birkenau, Treblinka, Buchenwald and others and on blaming those deaths to starvation and to the deprivations Nazi Germany experienced due to the Allies bombing campaigns.  The initial focus was not on the gas chambers but rather explaining away the deaths and minimizing them and even equivocating them to the German deaths due to the Allies.

Over time their tactics changed more to denying that any Jews actually were murdered in the homicidal gas chambers at the death camps.  The deniers focused on making claims that there was insufficient proof of wholesale slaughter (when in reality there has always been ample proof) and that the homicidal gas chambers were actually used for delousing prisoner’s clothes and property.  Over time they went from printing pamphlets to whole books (usually published by neo-Nazi publishing houses) and to updating their presentation to having a pseudo-scholarly look to it by creating an “Institute” for historical research that publishes a “journal” (I hesitate to call it that since the “methods” used by the authors of the “articles” in this “journal” are nowhere near the historiographic bar for legitimate journals). 

Dr. Lipstadt does an amazing effort to expose these people for who they really are: Antisemites who simply are looking to white-wash Germany’s crimes committed during World War 2 (particularly in reference to the Holocaust) and to bolster their false claims that Israel (and Jews in general) are trying to pull a “fast one” over the rest of the world. These people cherry pick their facts, misquote historical documents, or just fabricate lies to bolster their claims. Their behavior deserves to be derided by all – but yet they continue to attract like-minded neo-Nazis and Antisemites to them. What’s worse is that even those who are *NOT* neo-Nazis or Antisemitic sometimes fall into their traps and help promulgate their message unwittingly. The worst cases of these happens on university campuses where students and professors alike – who should have critical thinking skills – fail to realize that not all ideas or speech have merit and need to be defended.

I highly recommend this book to anyone who is interested in learning more about these deniers and their false messages and the danger they pose to historical accuracy and truth. We must be ever vigilant against them and call them out whenever they appear. Thank you Dr. Lipstadt for this wonderful work.

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